Arrival: February 6th to 13th:
We arrive from TO airport (where our 600.00USD=750.00CDN was inadvertently left in bathroom stall, 15 min. later, no sign of it). PC Airport allowed us to go in without paying our $10.00 Tourist cards and wished us great vacations. What a relief. We were able to use the ATM at the airport. We used IBK Transportation for transfer to hotel. On-time, safe vehicle and very friendly driver. This was our 2nd time at NH and when we arrived at the resort at approx. 1PM, we were greeted by Felix, our friendly bell boy whom we had met last year and it was like returning home. Hugs and kisses and hand shake reminded us immediately why we returned to Edenh?NH. So refreshing to receive such greeting, although it was raining. We were then introduced to Clara, Manager of Paradise Club. Very efficient check-in, all info provided. We expected to wait until 3pm for check-in but our room was ready. Wow, what service.
Our Paradise Club # 1246) room was beautifully located, closest to the beach, nice Garden & partial Oceanview. Perfect for the morning coffee on the balcony. Very clean with King-size Bed. Rum and Fruit basket awaited. Bathroom with Jacuzzi plenty big enough for 2 (with view of TV through wall opening, if needed. Private toilet stall with frosted glass door, same for beautifully tiled rain shower stall (approx. 4x5ft).Plenty of hot water at all time (AM & PM). Towels, face cloth, soaps and all necessities including bath salts and bubble bath. Everything was re-stocked daily. On our 2nd day, we requested 1 extra pillow. Within 5 min. 2 pillows were brought to our room. We received nightly turn down service. Fridge was also re-stocked daily. We left a little note, in Spanish every morning, requesting 3 water bottles, along with our daily tip to the water/bar person as well as $$ tip for maid+small gift. Beach towels were also in the room. Spacious closet and dresser space. We brought extra hangers as we both like to hang just about everything. There is an iron and ironing board in the closet as well as shelf which we used for small items rather than the dresser drawers. Upgrade to Paradise is well worth it, especially for the view which is very important to me. We ran into our maid and water/bar person every morning on our way to breakfast and their smile and friendliness is ever so refreshing. A simple Hola automatically brings a beautiful smile and a Hola in return. We used room service every morning for some hot milk mixture to accompany our morning Santo Domingo coffee. The coffee was re-stocked everyday; however the sugars was hit and miss. We simply ordered it with our hot milk. Room service is very prompt and efficient.
Restaurants and Bars:
Wow, we thought last year was great. This year, the food was outstanding. Shawn even requested to see the chef to comment on the food. Plenty of variety for breakfast, form fresh fruits to probiotic yogurt, large variety of breads, muffins, cheeses to Spanish omelettes (my personal favourites) to tender/well prepared scrambled eggs, roasted tomatoes with basil, baked beans, bacon and so much more. Let’s not forget the beautiful fruit shakes/smoothy prepared to your specifications, again presented with a smile. Service for coffee was prompt; however we found that the coffee was not as good as last year. It appears to be watered down. Evening buffet was equally as impressive. Ossobouco, pastas, roast beef/pork, lots of coleslaw, salads and condiments, good variety of salad dressing or simple oil and vinegar dressing, flavourful pizza, specially the olive pizza, cappers pizza, pepperoni etc. Maui-Maui was absolutely delightful as the calamari and much more. One evening we cancelled our A la Carte as it was Seafood night at the buffet restaurant. They have also adjusted the AC in the Buffet section. Last year, it was so cold that even the plates were cold and your food never stayed hot. This year, this issue had been resolved. Our A La Carte were all booked on our 2nd day, through Paradise Club. We visited the American Grill, good food, great service, although I found last year’s food much tastier. The Japanese Hibachi was better than last year as our "chef" was very entertaining. The shrimps were absolutely fantastic. Cooked to absolute perfection as was the beef and the chicken. We had a great time with new our new Friends, Daisy and Mike. The chef invited anyone to have their picture taken with him. Our friends had a chance to enjoy the Sushi bar with which they were most impressed. The Romantic//French restaurant was good and again the service was most impressive. We arrive a few minutes late and our friends were already seated. The waiter, with a big smile was most courteous in accommodating our lateness and brought us our appetizers promptly while holding our friends main course so we could all eat together. My appetizer of escargots/mushrooms/sausage with a beautiful sauce topped with a butter pastry crust was amazing. The highlight for us was the Italian, my favourite food. Both Shawn and I absolutely enjoyed the food, well prepared and seasoned. I had the Veal Marsalis done to my liking (medium rare).Again, very prompt, courteous and efficient service. The wine however was a big disappointment this year. It appeared watered down at every restaurants and bars of the resort. I considered purchasing good wine bottle from the gift shop and bringing it with me to the restaurant but never did. I will stock up at the duty free next year and bring my own. The beach/pool restaurant, The Olas was also much improved over last year in terms of variety. The BBQ chicken was very tender and juicy, cooked to perfection. Lots of fries, onion rings, vegetables (carrots, leaks, potatoes, corn).
Salad/condiment bar was also very impressive as were the pizzas. Ask with a smile and you shall receive is the motto for the pizzas. If they notice that only a few slices remained in the warmer, the pizza guys would immediately ask you the wait for 1 more minute as fresh pizzas were coming momentarily. Shawn requested a pizza with specific ingredients and they are more than prepared to accommodate any requests. What service we received from Daniel, our favourite waiter at the Ola. He always made a point of coming to say hi, if we missed him and always ensured that we had plenty to drink. More often than not, he noticed us and would bring us our drinks before we could even ask. Then there’s Danny and Rafael of the Paradise Club bar. Danny is always having a great day. He is most entertaining, always signing, encouraging everyone to join him in singing songs. Rafael would always come to see if we needed anything to drink. He knew that in the morning, we both preferred water bottles which he brought to us before we could even ask. He would also suggest a new drink and ensured that there was plenty of spirit content in all drinks. One morning, we forgot our towels and he noticed that Shawn was going to run back and get them. He would have none of that. He brought us towels. For us it’s not the actual service that we receive that makes the difference, it’s the genuine desire to please, their professionalism, the humility but most of all their smile and genuine happiness that turns a good trip into a wonderful and rewarding trip despite the 1st 4 day of on and off rain
The beach was as I remembered from last year so wonderful, white sand and beautiful views. We were informed early on that there’s no chair games ad the resort added an additional 250 chairs & 100 palapas this year. The beach was cleaned early every morning and free of debris/seaweed etc. I only wish that smokers (and I am a smoker) would use a container/empty glass with sand in it or the ashtrays randomly placed for their cigarette butts. Although we sat at the Paradise Club pool occasionally (as we both much prefer to hear the sound of the waves etc), we never swam in the pools nor use the swim-up bars. I have some concerns with people sitting at the swim-up bars for hours on end and never leaving to go to the bathroom……there was absolutely no issues with misbehaved/loud/crying children neither at the Paradise Club pool or the beach. In fact, watching these children play brings a smile to your face.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Activities are plenty, if you need it. Aerobics in the beach shore, volleyball nets, trampoline, coconut tree climbing, complimentary kayaking and catamaran etc. The Sports Bar became a favourite due to the rain. We are both much better pool players now than we were when we left. We were a bit disappointed one evening when the Sports bar was closed for a private function without any notice. We then proceeded to the Aliza bar (lobby bar). All was great with background music until the loud thump thump 20 something music started. We left as we could not carryon a conversation. Based on the average age group of the guest, I would suggest more mainstream tunes such as rock & roll. Hip Hop is only attractive to very small group. We attended the Romantic night in the Auditorium however, this was not our beat so we let and called an early night. We had the opportunity to meet and befriend a resort employee last year, better known as Punta Cana Mike. His dedication to support many impoverished area schools and orphanages is so very hearth warming. We had brought a few bags of school and other necessities with us. Mike Offered to take us to the school and meet the children. Wow, what an experience. To watch the smile on their faces when they saw Mike brought tears to me our eyes. After chatting with Madeleine and some of the locals, we were asked to distribute the donation which is such a rewarding and humbling experience. I was amazed that between colourful pens/pencils/makers/paint brushes and colouring books and hair barrettes/elastics/clips the kids were treasuring their new children’s tooth brushes. All are so forthcoming with hugs and kisses, I was sad to not have brought more. I wish I could go everyday. It really reminds you of how fortunate we really are.
After a few hours with the kids and tears when we left, we proceeded to Steve’s corner bar. Another most excellent adventure. Some of the Tropical Storm staff joined us and a large group from Wisconsin. Again, more donations.
It was nice to see the Tropical Storm group when we boarded for our Tropical Sunset & Lobster Catamaran cruise. We had only met a few of them and hung out for a few Presidente and we were greeted with hugs and kisses for me and genuine warm hand shake for Shawn. As safety is first and foremost, Olga, the leader of the pack instructed everyone with the happenings to come and also reminded everyone that if we were smoking (cigarettes only) we were to ask the bartender/staff member for an ashtray in order to protect the water. She then also advised that no cubalibre or Cervesa were to be served until AFTER the snorkelling was done. As only 60% of the passengers were enjoying their snorkelling excursion, the cubralibre started flowing. With everyone back on board with drinks in hands, we proceeded to our next destination, the Natural Pool, complete with floating bar. For me, this was the best part. To be in the middle of the ocean in only 3 to 4 ft. of warm, warm water surrounding you is amazing. Last year, we encountered many star fish but not this year. Back on board to a snack and mamajuana. After the snacks were devoured, we were prompted to join Andy, the entertainer into a dance, which Shawn referred to as the 6/49 dance. We had some much fun and met so many nice people from every corner of the world. We also had a chance to purchase our own bottle of mamawana roots, complete with our photos (couples and/or entire families) at the low cost of $10.00USD. We were also advised that the on-board paparazzi/videographer would produce a DVD of our day and the cost is 35.00USD (I have watched this DVD everyday since our return). On our way to the most beautiful lobster dinner ever. The garlic butter served was almost like an emulsion with butter, garlic and a hint of lemon. I am definitely going to try to replicate this one. As the sun was now down and our dinner was complete, we proceeded to our bus for drop off at the hotel. BTW, the same staff we shared Presidente’s with the previous day, invited Shawn and Ito join later that evening at Steve’s Corner Bar. Unfortunately, we were tired and did not quite make it. We walked over the launch point the following day to apologize for not going and again were met with hugs, kisses and hand shakes.
Other Comments: Eden/HN Real Arena has worked very hard to work to achieve the second to none status some of the small concerns present last year had been totally resolved. I would highly recommend this resort to anyone. The quality of the staff and management, the food, the beach etc. make this resort the best vacation we have ever had, again despite 4 days of on and off rain.
Special thanks to Mike B. Clara, Felix, Daniel, Rafael and Danny. To the bellboy who I forget the name, hope your little girl is healthy again and back home from her 9hrs away stay in the hospital. The all the maids and water/bar people, thank you for accommodating our every requests. to the gardeners, thank you for working so hard to make this place like haven on hurt and to all the behind the scene staff from the kitchen, to laundry and any other necessary support, Shawn and I say THANK YOU, UNTIL NEXT YEAR.